North America’s Best High School Jazz Bands!


1st Place: Roosevelt High School, Seattle, WA

2nd Place: Garfield High School, Seattle, WA

3rd Place: Sun Prairie High School, Sun Prairie, WI

Three high school jazz bands took top honors in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 13th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival. Each band was chosen by a panel of judges composed of distinguished jazz musicians and historians – WYNTON MARSALIS, Jazz at Lincoln Center Artistic Director; composer, conductor and Ellington authority DAVID BERGER; educator, clinician and pianist, Reginald Thomas; and master jazz clarinetist/saxophonist, Bob Wilber- from among the 15 finalist bands that earned spots by blind auditions from the U.S. and Canada that came to the Competition & Festival in New York City.

Essentially Ellington culminated at tonight’s concert, where the top placing bands performed with Wynton Marsalis as a soloist followed by a performance by the 15-piece Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis (JLCO) -all of whom served as mentors for each of the finalist bands during this weekend festival. The JLCO’s performance included Ellington compositions plus, for the first time in the history of the program, Benny Carter repertoire which will be distributed by Jazz at Lincoln Center for the 2008-2009 Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Program.

At the awards ceremony, Wynton Marsalis presented prizes and cash awards to each of the 15 finalist bands. Scott Brown, director of the Roosevelt High School Jazz Band, accepted the 1st place trophy. Clarence Acox, director of the Garfield High School Jazz Band accepted the 2nd place trophy. Steve Sveum, director of the Sun Prairie High School Jazz Band, accepted the 3rd place trophy. Shorewood High School Jazz Band was named honorable mention band. The remaining 11 bands were awarded certificates of merit and cash awards. All monetary awards go toward improving schools’ jazz programs. Awards for outstanding soloists and sections were also presented (see listing below).

Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 13th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival 2008 Awards

FIRST PLACE Roosevelt High School

SECOND PLACE Garfield High School

THIRD PLACE Sun Prairie High School



Winner of the Ella Fitzgerald Outstanding Soloist Award

Clarinet and Tenor, Garfield High School, Carl Majeau

On Clarinet

Honorable Mention Clarinet:

Stephen F. Austin High School, Stuart Davis

Roosevelt High School, Alex Dugdale

Outstanding Clarinet:

Medfield High School, Erika Santucci

On Alto Saxophone

Honorable Mention Alto Saxophone:

Roosevelt High School, Wyatt Palmer

Outstanding Alto Saxophone:

Mountlake Terrace High School, Jory Tindall

Douglass Anderson School of the Arts, Darren Escar

Sun Prairie High School, Michael Nonte

On Tenor Saxophone

Outstanding Tenor Saxophone:

Mountlake Terrace High School, Ben Walters

Stephen F. Austin High School, Matt Kennon

On Flute

Outstanding Flute:

Eau Claire Memorial High School, Cheng Cheng

On Trumpet

Honorable Mention Trumpet:

Roosevelt High School, Corey Dansereau

Garfield High School, Riley Mulherkar

Champaign Central High School, Cassie Bugbee

Outstanding Trumpet:

Garfield High School, Zuben Hensler

Agoura High School, Mor Frankie

On French Horn

Outstanding French Horn:

River East Collegiate, Olivia Orton

On Trombone

Honorable Mention Trombone:

Sun Prairie High School, Trae Titus

Outstanding Trombone:

Douglass Anderson School of the Arts, T.J. Norris

Garfield High School, Jake Linde

Dekalb High School, Sam Crittenden

On Piano

Honorable Mention Piano:

Medfield High School, Matt Aucoin

Roosevelt High School, Gus Carns

Outstanding Piano:

Garfield High School, Ben Hamaji

Douglass Anderson School of the Arts, Jahann Sweet

On Bass

Outstanding Bass:

River East Collegiate, Cole Ridd

Agoura High School, Nicole Saphos

On Drums

Outstanding Drums:

Douglass Anderson School of the Arts, Jeremy Smith

On Banjo

Outstanding Banjo:

Sun Prairie High School, Ben Acton

Outstanding Tap Dancers

Roosevelt High School, Alex Dugdale, Ethan Kahn



Hall High School

Garfield High School


Shorewood High School

Garfield High School


Dekalb High School

Champaign Central High School

South Whidbey High School

Sun Prairie High School


Sun Prairie High School

Roosevelt High School

New category: Doubler/Tripler

Honorable Mention, Doublers:

On Tenor & Alto, Dekalb High School, Jeff Miguel

On Clarinet & Alto, Eau Claire Memorial High School, Simon Adler

Outstanding Doublers:

On Baritone & Alto, Shorewood High School, Brad Murphy

On Tenor & Clarinet, River East Collegiate, Clay Ridd

Outstanding Tripler:

On Clarinet, Alto & Tenor, Champaign Central High School, Michael Anderson

In addition, Jazz at Lincoln Center recognized the winner of the seventh Essentially Ellington Essay Contest. The contest invited students from all participating high schools to submit an essay describing a personal experience with jazz. Jazz at Lincoln Center received 53 essays from which esteemed historian, author, editor, archivist and Director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University DAN MORGENSTERN chose the winners. As the 1st place winner for the winning essay entitled “What It’s All About,” Kelsey Van Dalfsen (Mountlake Terrace High School) was invited to name a seat in Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, and read her essay at the opening of the festival on Thursday, May 15, 2008. For more information on the Annual Essentially Ellington Student Essay Contest visit:

Also, for the first time in the history of Essentially Ellington, Parsons School of Design student Marie Shirato created the design campaign for the program that was used in posters, advertisements, t-shirts, etc. Shirato’s design was chosen by Jazz at Lincoln Center from a large number of Parsons student submissions. This special collaboration between Parsons School of Design and Jazz at Lincoln Center will continue annually.

After a three-day competition & festival, May 15, 16, & 17, 2008 at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, honors were announced during the final concert & awards ceremony that took place May 17 at Avery Fisher Hall.

A photo gallery of the entire Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival will be available starting Monday May 19 here:

Recordings of tonight’s performance will be available in upcoming weeks on



The three-day festival began on Thursday, May 15th when the finalist bands arrived at Frederick P. Rose Hall for “One-On-One With Wynton Marsalis,” a reading by the essay contest winner, workshops, rehearsals, a banquet dinner and jam sessions with members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO). The three-part competition was in Rose Theater on Friday May 16 at 3 p.m. and Saturday May 17 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. where the panel judged each band’s performance of three Ellington works. At the May 17, 7:30pm Concert and Awards Ceremony in Avery Fisher Hall, the three top-placing bands performed alone and with Wynton Marsalis, followed by a JLCO performance of Duke Ellington and Benny Carter repertoire. The concert ended with the culminating awards ceremony honoring outstanding soloists and sections and the three top-placing bands. The 2008-09 Essentially Ellington season is the first time in the history of the program that Carter’s works will be included in the program repertoire. Next season’s repertoire includes, by Duke Ellington: “Jeep’s Blues,” “Moon Over Cuba” and “Perdido” and by Benny Carter: “Symphony in Riffs,” “Again and Again” and “Movin’ Uptown.”


Each year, Jazz at Lincoln Center selects and transcribes original arrangements of Duke Ellington compositions, published by Alfred Publications. The six selections for 2008, which reflect the variety of styles and forms in Ellington’s body of work, were: “Blue Ramble”, “Blue Serge”, “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”, “Jam-A-Ditty”, “The Mooche” and “Theme From “The Asphalt Jungle”. Arrangements were distributed to all high school jazz bands that expressed interest in the program by returning an application card. Category C of the competition is for conglomerate groups, those made up of students from more than one school. The winning groups receive a workshop with a clinician from Jazz at Lincoln Center. This year, Youth Jazz Ensemble of DuPage from South Elgin, IL and Pacific Crest Community School from Portland, OR took home the Conglomerate Band Awards.

Throughout March and April, Jazz at Lincoln Center sent, free of charge, a professional musician to each of the 15 finalist schools to lead an intensive day-long workshop of rehearsals, lessons and master classes. Free clinics part of the rich 13-year history of this unique music education program, which has reached more than 275,000 students in more than 4,000 high schools across all 50 U.S. states, Canada, Australia and American schools abroad. Essentially Ellington has produced and distributed more than 80,000 copies of 81 previously unavailable Ellington scores and 177 finalist bands have come to New York City to participate in the annual Competition & Festival.

This year Jazz at Lincoln Center distributed more than 4,900 newly transcribed Ellington scores, reference recordings and additional educational materials.

These materials were sent to more than 900 high schools in the United States, Canada and American schools in Bolivia, Brazil, France, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Switzerland, Taiwan and The Virgin Islands.

82 bands entered the competition by submitting a recorded performance of three Ellington compositions. The entries were evaluated in a blind screening by jazz education experts RON CARTER and LOREN SCHOENBERG.

The 15 finalists for Essentially Ellington 2008 were:

Agoura High School, Agoura Hills, CA

William H. Hall High School, West Hartford, CT

Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Jacksonville, FL

Champaign Central High School, Champaign, IL

DeKalb High School, DeKalb, IL

Medfield High School, Medfield, MA

River East Collegiate, Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Stephen F. Austin High School, Austin, TX

South Whidbey High School, Langley, WA

Mountlake Terrace High School, Mountlake Terrace, WA

Garfield High School, Seattle, WA

Roosevelt High School, Seattle, WA

Shorewood High School, Shoreline, WA

Eau Claire Memorial High School, Eau Claire, WI

Sun Prairie High School, Sun Prairie, WI

For a full schedule of Essentially Ellington, visit:


Bridget Wilson, Assistant, Public Relations (212) 258.9868 or via email [email protected]

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